How to Replace a Toilet

Home repair expert Henry Harrison shows how to remove and replace a toilet. On his elbow grease scale of one to four, he gives this job a two.


Materials and Tools:

plumber's putty
wax seal
plumber's grease
putty knife
rubbing alcohol
caulk gun
rubber gloves
adjustable wrench
locking pliers




1. Turn off water at the supply line and flush toilet to drain water. Put on rubber gloves and remove remaining water using a sponge and bucket. Disconnect water supply line from bottom of tank. Loosen bolts on base of toilet using an adjustable wrench.



2. Cut the caulk seal around the base of the bowl using a pocketknife. Rock the toilet back and forth to make sure it is loose. Have a friend help you carry it away. Remove wax seal using a putty knife. Stuff an old towel into the opening to block sewer gasses.



3. Clean the floor around the opening with rubbing alcohol. Apply a bead of caulk around the base of the new bowl. The caulk is primarily to eliminate gaps and make for a neater installation. If there is a significant leak around the wax ring it makes its way through the caulk.



4. Remove towel blocking opening and place the new wax ring between the bolts. Lift the bowl into place while a friend helps guide it into place. Don't press it down, but instead allow the weight of the bowl to compress the wax seal.



5. Before putting the tank in place, apply a coat of plumber's grease to the spud washer at the base of the tank. You can substitute petroleum jelly if you don't have plumber's grease. Lift the tank into place and carefully line up the mounting bolts.



6. Slide the washer onto the bolts and tighten the nut by hand. Use a large screwdriver to fully tighten the bolts inside the tank. Do not over tighten the bolts or you could crack the tank.



7. Replace mounting bolts on base of bowl. Check to see if the toilet is level. If it is, reconnect the water supply line, turn on the water, fill up the tank and give it a test flush and check for leaks.

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